Young people in part of Calderdale offered extra meningitis jab after cluster of cases including one death

Meningitis vaccines are being rolled out in Todmorden after a cluster of cases of a rare strain of the disease including one death.

By sarah fitton
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 9:21 am

Just over 10 per cent of all cases of the rare form reported nationally over the past weeks have been in the OL14 area.

The number of cases is small, stress public health experts, but it is unusually high for one area and they are taking action in a bid to protect people.

Young people in Todmorden and surrounding villages will be offered the Meningitis B vaccine, which comes in two doses.

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Calderdale's Director of Public Health Deborah Harkins

Director of Public Health for Calderdale Deborah Harkins said there is no need for people to panic.

“Because this can cause quite serious illness, we want to take precautions and offer people in this age group that live in this area this vaccine,” she explained.

She added the risk of catching Meningitis is low but urged people to make sure they are aware of the symptoms.

Councillor Sarah Courtney, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Towns, Engagement and Public Health, said: “We don’t want people to panic but we do want people to take it seriously.”

The person who died has not been identified but was aged between 16 and 24.

The rise in cases has happened since April.

People who are aged between 16 and 24 who live in OL14 will soon receive invitations by text and post to be vaccinated against Meningitis B at drop-in clinics.

This vaccine is one of the jabs offered to all children when they are very young, but only since 2015 so people currently aged 16 to 24 are unlikely to have had it.

It offers protection against different strains of Meningitis to the one offered to all young people, so those in OL14 who are contacted are being encouraged to take up the invitation to get protected.

It comes in two doses, and having both doses is vital, say health bosses.

All 15-year-olds in the OL14 area who will turn 16 before the end of August will also be invited for the jab.

Health experts do not know what is behind the unusual number of cases in Todmorden and its surrounding villages. It has not been linked to any one particular setting.

Calderdale’s public health team is working with other Yorkshire health organisations to deal with the issue.

Calderdale Council has launched a web page with more information about the situation.

To find out more, visit www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/meningitis-b

Anyone who is concerned that they or their child may have Meningitis is advised to seek medical advice as soon as possible.

The symptoms can include a high temperature, vomiting, severe headache, a stiff neck, aching limbs and joints, a dislike of bright lights, drowsiness or a rash which does not fade when pressed.

Further advice and information about meningitis is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/meningitis/ or NHS 111.

There is also advice available online on the website of the organisations Meningitis Research Foundation and Meningitis Now.